South of Madras near the East Coast of India is a small village, Allangkuppam.
In an idyllic setting surrounded by trees and plants of every description and blessed with a plentiful rainfall and a good local supply of china clay, lies the Sivam pottery.
Here the master potter and a group of about 60 artisans, drawn from local villages, work together to create a wide variety of ceramic items. Every step of the process is done by hand, from when the raw clay is softened, formed on the potters’ wheel, fired in the wood burning kilns, glazed and finally packed ready for its long journey to the UK.
This labour intensive project provides training in a craft, and employment opportunities for members of an economically weak rural community. Thanks to the ceramic unit with IFAT member support and employees benefit from medical and insurance facilities. A school has been started in the village for 350 pupils under the age of 11, primarily for the children of artisans who work in the pottery, but also for children who live in the surrounding rural area.